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Stroger-Connected Firm's Multimillion-Dollar Bond Deal Eeks Past County Board

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Stroger-Connected Firm's Multimillion-Dollar Bond Deal Eeks Past County Board

Todd Stroger (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger used a rare tie breaking vote to squeak a multi-million dollar deal through the county board. Turns out the firm that drafted the deal has extensive ties to Stroger and his political organization.

Chapman and Cutler’s Campaign Contributions [pdf]

The county balanced its budget with a sales tax hike—but can’t start collecting those taxes until fall. To balance the books until then, it’s issuing $150 million worth of bonds, which will be paid back once the new sales taxes start coming in. Today Stroger used his tie-breaking vote—something he rarely does—to get the deal approved.

Here’s the rub.

The politically connected financial law firm that put the bond deal together, Chapman and Cutler, has close ties to Stroger—and the 8th ward political organization, which is Stroger’s homebase.

In the last three years, the firm has given more than $35,000 to either Stroger, or the 8th ward. Commissioner Forrest Claypool, a Stroger critic says the deal is pinstripe-patronage.

Stroger administration pointed out that the firm is one of the largest of its kind—and gives to lots of other politicians, including other members of the county board. The administration did not disclose details about what the firm will be paid for putting together the bond deal.

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